Types of Spinal Tumors and How They Affect Your Body

There are different spinal tumors, and your doctor is likely to classify the growths depending on their location in your spinal column. For instance, the growths can either be extradural tumors (outside your dura) or intradural-extramedullary tumors (inside your dura).  Tumors developing inside or around your spinal cord can make life very challenging, and debilitating back pain is usually the first sign you are likely to have. Though back pain might be an early sign, you may schedule an appointment with your doctor for a thorough evaluation to ascertain your symptoms. If your tests indicate potential signs of spinal tumors in Huntington, George Kakoulides, MD, can help address the growths before they advance, minimizing your risk of fatal complications.

What are the symptoms you are likely to have with spinal tumors?

The tumors may showcase different symptoms, depending on the extent of growth. Other parts of your spine, including blood vessels, bones, nerve roots, and the spinal cord, may be affected. The signs you are most likely to have with the growths include:

  • Back pain that radiates to different body parts
  • Pain at the affected spot as the growth advances
  • Difficulty walking
  • Muscle weakness mainly on your legs and arms
  • Back pain that worsens at night
  • Gradual loss of sensitivity to heat, cold, and pain
  • Loss of bowel and bladder movement

Back pain is usually the earliest sign of spinal tumors. The pain might spread further to other parts of your body, including your legs and arms. Unfortunately, the pain might worsen even with treatment.

What are your risk factors for developing spinal tumors?

You have higher chances of developing the growths if you have:

  • Neurofibromatosis 2

The hereditary condition occurs when benign growths start growing on or around the nerves likely to impact your hearing. Over time, the disease might progress, affecting your hearing in your ears.

  • Von Hippe-Lindau disease

The rare condition affects your major blood vessels, including those in your retina, spinal cord, and brain.

Spinal tumors compressing your spinal nerves might result in loss of movement, especially in areas below the tumor’s location. However, early detection and aggressive treatment may minimize damage and help restore your nerve function.

What are the types of spinal tumors you are likely to have?

There are two main spinal tumors likely to result in painful symptoms, primary and secondary tumors. Primary spinal tumors originate from the various elements, including your nerves, in your spinal column. Fortunately, a significant percentage of primary tumors are benign (non-cancerous).

On the other hand, the secondary tumors spread to your spinal column from other forms of cancer on other parts of your body. Unfortunately, the tumors are usually cancerous, with a higher risk of spreading to other parts of your body. 

Though back pain is usually the first symptom of spinal tumors, the pain might also signify a different thing. However, an early diagnosis might help you know what you are having, allowing your healthcare provider to recommend the best treatment to relieve your debilitating symptoms. Seek professional help immediately when the back pain progresses and worsens at night, especially if the symptoms are not activity-related. 

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